POLITICS
09/12/2013 06:03 pm ET Updated Nov 12, 2013

HUFFPOST HILL - America Offended By Shirtless Bear Wrestler Foe

John Boehner was so incensed by Vladimir Putin's New York Times op-ed that we have to give the Russian strongman three-out-of-four Luke Russerts on our patented Boehner impudence scale. "Tom Coburn: Turn Out The Lights" isn't just the Oklahoma senator's debut R&B album, but also his instruction to government employees. And Richard Stengel will leave Time Magazine, shaking up both the newsroom and what's on your parents' coffee table when you visit for Thanksgiving. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, September 12th, 2013:

HOUSE LEADERS MEET TO DISCUSS HOW MUCH THEY'LL SCREW THINGS UP THIS FALL - "Really, we're going to do it this time." "No you won't." "Yes we will." "No you won't." "Yes we will." "Alright, good meeting." Roll Call: "Top House and Senate leaders met in Speaker John A. Boehner's office Thursday morning to try and hash out a path forward on this fall's fiscal fights -- but its clear the meeting was a beginning, not an end. It was the first meeting on fiscal issues in months between Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and it comes as Boehner's plans for a stopgap spending bill are in limbo following a revolt in his conference. Boehner also planned to lay out his demands for another round of spending cuts as his price for raising the debt ceiling. At a noon news conference Reid said no deal was at hand. 'Their direction is a direction to shutting down the government,' Reid said of the House GOP, a point he said he made during the meeting. Boehner told reporters at his own news conference that he reiterated his push for Democrats to find the 'courage' to work with Republicans on cutting spending. "It's time for us to deal with the problem," the Ohio Republican said." [Roll Call]

BOEHNER'S GOT SOME EXPLOEHNING TO DO... - Sabrina Eaton reports that Boehner's PAC took more money from big business than is currently allowed, because John Roberts hasn't gotten around to gutting that law yet: "Among the groups that were allegedly overgenerous to Boehner were Coalpac and Minepac, which represent the mining industry, as well as political committees representing the Exelon, Constellation and Luminant power companies, and the Ceasars and Penn National gambling enterprises. 'Although the commission may take further legal action concerning the acceptance of excessive contributions, your prompt action to refund the excessive amount will be taken into consideration,' the letters say." [Cleveland Sun News]

PENNSYLVANIA'S GOVERNOR WANTS TO BE REELECTED SUPPORTS MEDICAID EXPANSION - Pity the poor Tea Party wave politician. Jeff Young: "Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett may be the 10th Republican governor to back a Medicaid expansion in his state under President Barack Obama's health care reform law, according to reports. Corbett declared in February that Pennsylvania wouldn't open Medicaid to more poor people under the law, but he will reverse that position and support a version of the expansion, Lancaster Online reported Thursday, citing anonymous sources. Corbett will make a Medicaid announcement soon, two Corbett aides confirmed to PoliticsPA. A Medicaid expansion would provide health coverage to 682,000 people in Pennsylvania, according to the Lancaster Online report. Not counting Pennsylvania,24 states and the District of Columbia plan to broaden Medicaid under Obamacare starting next year. By supporting the Medicaid expansion, Corbett would join fellow Republican governors, including neighbors Chris Christie in New Jersey and John Kasich in Ohio, in bucking GOP resistance to the health care reform law. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) also initially opposed the Medicaid expansion before changing course." [HuffPost]

WHITHER THE FARM BILL CONFEREES? House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas spent two years crafting a farm bill only to find himself once again at the mercy of John Boehner and Eric Cantor. David Rogers: "Just getting to conference remains an open question for the House. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) had promised action soon after returning from the August recess, but the precise timing is still undefined. 'I have been led to believe it will be prompt,' Lucas said, but he suggested it could very well be delayed until the week of Sept. 22. Right now, the House is scheduled to be in recess but given the current uncertainty over a government shutdown, Lucas expected lawmakers will end up staying in town to resolve the continuing resolution or CR needed to keep agencies operating. 'We can't go home until they've got something sorted out on the CR,' Lucas said. 'That creates a window of opportunity to appoint conferees. That's my deduction.'" Poor guy. [Politico]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - It doesn't get much more paternalistic than this GOP bill limiting food stamp purchases to baby food. "Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) on Tuesday proposed legislation that would require people using federal food stamps to buy only healthy food... Under Roe's bill, food purchased under SNAP would have to meet the same guidelines that food purchased under the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program already have to meet. The WIC guidelines are strict, and are made up of several different standards for products like breakfast cereal, milk, vegetables, peanut butter and other foods." Roe's propsal will not be part of the broader nutrition bill getting a House vote next week. [The Hill]

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BOEHNER ON PUTIN'S NYT OP-ED: HELL NYET YOU CAN'T! - Comments made by the leader of a country with a life expectancy of thirty and an entertainment industry anchored by dashboard cams and bears on unicycles deeply offended our cry-prone House speaker. Mike McAuliff: "House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) didn't appreciate the advice offered in a New York Times op-ed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. 'I was insulted,' Boehner told reporters Thursday when asked for his 'blunt' reaction to the commentary, in which the Russian leader counseled President Barack Obama to back off bellicose talk about Syria. Putin also argued that Obama and Americans generally should stop calling their country 'exceptional.' 'It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation,' Putin wrote, apparently in response to Obama's use of that description during his Tuesday appeal to the public to support a strike on Syria." [HuffPost]

IRAQ HAWKS OPPOSING WAR IN SYRIA - To be fair, they were avenging 9/11. #neverforget #wherewereyou. Amanda Terkel, Sabrina Siddiqui and Mike McAuliff: "President Barack Obama got ambushed by an old enemy when he tried to push a resolution through Congress to bomb Syria: the Iraq war...Consider the circumstances: The case for war in Iraq was based on unverified claims from exiles, extrapolations of grainy photos that suggested Saddam Hussein could have weapons of mass destruction, disputed claims that Al Qaeda was in the country, and phony connections to 9/11...In Syria, the actual use of chemical weapons has been horribly on display. The Syrian government has even acknowledged it possesses chemical arms...And yet, of the 115 lawmakers who voted for the Iraq War, 43 are leaning towards opposing an authorization to use military force against the Assad regime. Just 25 are leaning in favor. Attitudes among the 77 lawmakers who voted against Iraq are split down the middle -- with 18 leaning no on Syria and 17 leaning yes. The Huffington Post asked several lawmakers on Capitol Hill why they believe the war in Iraq received a much warmer reception in 2003 than the request for limited military action in Syria has gotten in the past week. The answers boiled down to: 'Well, this is just different.' And many lawmakers are just plain tired of war, as are their constituents." [HuffPost]

HARRY REID BEING A JERK - Paul Blumenthal: "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will host a fundraiser for Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes to aid her bid to knock off Reid's chief opposition in the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). According to an invitation from the Grimes campaign, Reid will host a luncheon at McCormick & Schmick's in Las Vegas on Oct. 11. Tickets start at $1,000 for a guest and run up to $2,600 for a 'co-host' and $5,000 for a 'PAC co-host.' It is unusual, but not unheard of, for a Senate majority leader to campaign for the challenger to a Senate minority leader. In 2004, then-Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) broke with tradition by campaigning against then-Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.). Daschle lost his reelection fight. But McConnell decided not to campaign against Reid in his 2010 contest with Republican candidate Sharron Angle (though he did fundraise). The Grimes fundraiser is thus yet another mark in the deteriorating relationship between the top two Senate leaders. In July, Politico reported that McConnell called out Reid for attacks made by a super PAC run by former Reid aides, which has targeted McConnell for defeat in 2014. 'I see your super PAC is up in Kentucky,' McConnell told Reid, referring to the Senate Majority PAC. 'Come on down, I hope you spend it all down there.'" [HuffPost]

SEQUESTRATION COULD HAVE MAJOR IMPACT ON FBI - Though we're confident they'll scrounge together the resources necessary to bust your grandmother's medical weed provider. Ryan Reilly: "Newly installed FBI Director James Comey said this week that sequestration is having a 'huge impact' on the ability of the FBI to accomplish its mission. Comey, visiting an FBI field office in Richmond, Va., said he didn't think the public knew enough about the effects the budget cuts are having on the agency. 'I was very surprised to learn about the impacts that sequestration is having on the FBI,' Comey said. 'Not only am I having to lose 3,000 positions, but there's a very real prospect, unless something is done, that I'm going to have to send home, for two weeks without pay, the good men and women who work in this building behind me.' As NPR reports, former FBI Director Robert Mueller said that sequestration would mean moving resources away from violent crime and white-collar business fraud since national security and cyberthreats were more of a priority. Sequestration will require the FBI to cut about $700 million from its $8 billion budget, and furloughs for the FBI's 36,000 employees could begin next month, NBC News reports." [HuffPost]

CORNYN OPPOSES SUMMERS NOMINATION - Members of the president's inner-circle are shocked that so many people are opposed to a guy best known for thinking women can't do long division and insisting Facebook would never work. Jon Ward and Grim: "John Cornyn, the number two Republican in the Senate, would oppose Larry Summers if he were nominated to chair the Federal Reserve, Cornyn's spokesperson told HuffPost. Summers, who is widely considered to be President Barack Obama's top choice to lead the central bank, has run into a thicket of opposition across the political spectrum. Cornyn's opposition is a signal that Republican skepticism of Summers will be broad and deep, as outside conservative organizations are also beginning to take up the fight. Earlier this week, Roll Call reported that the American Principles Project, a conservative organization closely allied with Cornyn's fellow Texan senator, Ted Cruz (R), is also battling Summers. 'We want to see as many groups as possible on the right and the left' opposing his nomination, APP's Rich Danker told Roll Call...Republicans... see in Summers the embodiment of the president's economic policy, which they have criticized as ranging from incompetent to socialist. Summers, a champion of the stimulus, the auto industry bailout and other policies opposed by the GOP, has few friends on that side of the aisle." [HuffPost]

TOM COBURN LIKES IT WITH THE LIGHTS OFF - File this alongside "Try inflating your tires to the correct level" in our country's ongoing, and totally thorough, efforts to fight climate change. Kate Sheppard: "The Senate is scheduled Thursday to debate an energy efficiency bill that includes measures to improve building codes and promote more energy efficiency in the federal government. While some Republicans are seeking an amendment to the bill that would force a debate on delaying the implementation of health care reform, some less controversial amendments include this one from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). Coburn's proposed amendment (via Politico) would amend the bill by changing a line that calls for 'providing information to employees of the Federal agency on the importance of turning off the lights' at the end of the day to 'requiring employees' to turn off the lights before they go home." [HuffPost]

RICHARD STENGEL LEAVING TIME MAGAZINE FOR STATE DEPARTMENT - Capital New york: "Richard Stengel, the top editor of Time magazine for the past seven years, is planning to step down as managing editor for a new job at the U.S. Department of State, sources familiar with the situation tell Capital New York and POLITICO. If confirmed, Stengel's title, these sources said, will be Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, the role responsible for leading 'America's public diplomacy outreach, which includes communications with international audiences, cultural programming, academic grants, educational exchanges, international visitor programs, and U.S. Government efforts to confront ideological support for terrorism,' according to the State Department's website. Senior U.S. officials confirmed that Stengel is in line for the position. Nancy Gibbs, Time's deputy managing editor, is expected to succeed him, sources said. A spokesperson for Time declined to comment, as did Stengel. The State Department didn't immediately comment." [Capital New York]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here are some flying kittens and puppies.

WHITE HOUSE NOT GIVING PEACE A CHANCE, DISMANTLING PEACE INSTEAD - Damn thing was blocking the Segways. Sam Stein and Amanda Terkel: "Nearly every tourist who comes to Washington, D.C., remembers the moment they first laid eyes on the White House. And many of them also remember looking directly across the street and spotting the little white tent surrounded by anti-nuclear signs. But on Thursday morning, that tent was gone. Concepcion 'Connie' Picciotto, 77, had maintained her peace vigil since Aug. 1, 1981, making it the longest-running political protest in the United States. Her tent was modest, described by the Washington Post in a recent profile as 'an old patio umbrella draped in a white plastic sheet secured with binder clips.'... Picciotto occasionally steps away, but she's always replaced by one of her fellow activists who live with her in a Peace House, so the camp is always attended. But the person who was supposed to be watching the tent last night walked away, and the Park Police dismantled it in the early morning hours on Thursday. Peace House manager Feriha Ka told the Washington Post that the individual on shift was a combat veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder." [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- Time-lapse video of One World Trade Center's construction from 2004 through today. [http://bit.ly/15XiMIE]

- Aerophobics take note: All your neurotic questions about flight answered in one place. No, turbulence won't crash your plane. [http://nyti.ms/1baC8kH]

- Chihuahua puppy conquers stairs without sherpas. [http://huff.to/15ZDfvK]

- Frogs take note: Don't hop your way to a rocket launch site the day of liftoff. [http://nbcnews.to/14HgqTg]

- You can now take a tour of the Galapagos Islands on Google Street View. [http://bit.ly/185q39b]

- A history of NIckelodeon's "Legends of the Hidden Temple." [http://bit.ly/15SBNSH]

- "11 Common Words With Very Specific Meanings on Food Labels." [http://bit.ly/18Qv9IF]

TWITTERAMA

@leighmunsil: If Jay Carney ever says "That's a clown question, bro" in a briefing we can consider our work done, right?

@GrahamDavidA: Are you a tweet? The AP would like to talk to you

@delrayser: What is Obama doing about our exceptionalism gap

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